Google launched its much anticipated social networking service, Buzz, today aimed a competing with sites like Facebook and Twitter.
The Internet giant tried to be a player in the social space before with its Orkut service, but unless you’re in Brazil or India you’ve probably never heard of it. Buzz is supposed to remedy the problem.
And Facebook is a big problem for Google. Google is still the Number One website in the world. Facebook is Number Two. Facebook is a walled garden. Google doesn’t have access to its content and can’t mine the mountains of data generated as users interact with their friends. Facebook gets to do that and use the data to sell ads on its service.
Worse for Google, the more time Facebook users are using the service, the less time they’re spending with Google. That means less time to gather consumers’ data and fewer opportunities to sell ads.
Buzz is being offered through Google’s popular Gmail service. You’ll be able to post status updates, share photos, videos and links just like on Facebook. Buzz is being added to Gmail accounts over the next week. A Buzz application is being offered for Andriod phones and Apple’s iPhone. The mobile version will share your exact location, though it apparently asks you if you want it made known before doing so.
Google says you’ll be able to decide whether to share each post with certain people or broadcast it to the entire Internet. Google hasn’t updated my Gmail with Buzz yet and I don’t have an Android or iPhone. I can’t yet say first-hand how Buzz works and whether the "privacy options" are truly consumer friendly.
I am certain, however, of this: Buzz will give Google even more data about your use of the Internet, how you interact with friends, your wants and desires. Coupled with the data logged from searches and information gathered as you surf from website to website, Google’s data gold mine will be come even richer with more detailed digital dossiers in its network of global servers.
Google executives will say they gather, log and analyze all the consumer data "to improve the user experience." It’s really about mining your information to sell ads and Buzz will just give the Internet giant another lucrative stream of data.